DLA Director visits Land and Maritime, reviews logistics operations plan

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams and select members of his senior staff visited Defense Supply Center Columbus Dec. 11 to review DLA Land and Maritime’s present and future logistics operation plans. The visit was hosted by DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer and his senior leadership team.

Williams set a positive atmosphere for his visit by presenting three Land and Maritime associates with his patented “Ya Done Good” awards. Ben Roberts, Maritime Supplier Operations deputy director, Doug Nevins, DLA Land Aberdeen director and Bill Winegarner, a supervisory contract specialist received awards.

After a spirited welcome from Palmer, Williams opened the visit by recognizing some of the significant achievements Land and Maritime has recorded. Specifically, Williams mentioned Land and Maritime’s impressive Denison Culture Climate Survey results, its suspended stock reduction initiatives and material availability improvement efforts.

Williams structured his expectations of the discussion by identifying warfighter support, business reform and audit reconciliation rates as the “big buckets” focus areas that will require the Agency’s heightened attention.

Palmer and his team arranged presentation of their operations strategy to dovetail into the five pillars identified in the new DLA Strategic Plan: Warfighter First, Global Posture, Strong Partnerships, Always Accountable, Whole of Government all centered around People and Culture.

Land and Maritime briefers worked individually and in tandem to address local initiatives enacted at the operational level designed to drive improvements in performance areas contained in those five pillars.

One of the areas of discussion Williams touched on involved DLA demand planning activities. He asked what Land and Maritime’s assessment was in evaluating its demand planning effectiveness. Linda Johnson, deputy director for Land Customer Operations provided comprehensive insight into current demand planning progress and proposed enhancements to that specific functional area.

Collaborative demand planning with the Navy involving DLA’s submarine support noticeably peaked the director’s interest when discussions revealed the Navy’s logistics support requirements doubling.

“How do you feel about our interfaces inside the Navy now on forecasting, do you have confidence in the information exchange?” Williams asked.

Briefer Shawn Cody, Maritime Customer Operations deputy director expressed absolute confidence in their shared processes and assured Williams that the information exchange with the Navy is as strong as it’s been in some time. Williams briefly discussed the potential need for supplemental acquisition investments to support the Navy’s increased forecasting requirements and proposed that as an item for additional discussion.

Long Term Contract strategy conversations documented approximately 2,200 new contract additions, with a goal of reaching more than 5,400 throughout fiscal year 2019. That achievement represents a 47 percent increase over fiscal year 2018 activity. The collective discussion focused on including more items on LTCs to help improve efficiencies and overall servicing rates. Both Land and Maritime operations areas reflect balanced LTC execution with each generating approximately the same numbers.

Future LTC efforts include consolidating additional requirements to include items from Maritime Supplier Operations and the Strategic Acquisitions Program Directorate and to include DLA Land Warren reparables and some consumable items.

Land and Maritime’s FY18 Small Business impressive program successes and improvement efforts were shared with Williams and his team. Program education and outreach activities were evaluated in detail to include a highly successful webinar education initiative that attracted more than 450 attendees. Those attendance figures translated into approximately 91 participants per webinar. Williams applauded the record setting efforts and solicited continued Land and Maritime assistance in supporting the Agency’s efforts to expand awareness of the economic impact of its small business activities.

Audit advancement efforts provided a key area of discussion during the briefing. Land and Maritime’s local audit processes and audit response procedures were thoroughly explained. Williams provided guidance to ensure local activities are integrated into the Agency’s overall audit compliance efforts. “Coming out of FY19 we have to show some substantial progress towards supporting the DOD’s audit results,” Williams said.

Several People and Culture workforce related metrics were highlighted and Williams used the occasion to encourage Agency and local support for participation in regional command rotational opportunities. The assessment areas of coordination and integration reflected the most improvement during the review of Land and Maritime’s culture and climate results and improvement action plans.

The significance of DLA Land Warren’s achievements were underscored by Williams and he asked what attributed to the dramatic improvement.

DLA Land Warren Director Vito Zuccaro replied, “We started having quarterly town halls stressing mandatory attendance, basically walked the talk. “We decided we were going to change for the better and we kept that as our daily focus.”

Land and Maritime’s Equal Employment Opportunity office concluded the briefing by showcasing how building connections within the organization helps create a broader understanding of individual purpose within the warfighter support mission. During additional discussions reasonable accommodations and resiliency were linked as vital components impacting mission success. More than 30 percent of the Agency’s reasonable accommodation actions are accomplished by the Land and Maritime EEO office.

Palmer summarized the briefing’s intent and shared some operating action items with Williams and his accompanying staff where their additional assistance would be appreciated.

Williams wrapped up the day’s activities by providing some observations on the information presented.

“You’re on track and applying activity metrics that clearly show we’re getting better,” he said. “I want to take my hat off to the efforts at the detachments and shipyards. They carry a very heavy load for the Agency and that’s not always well appreciated.

“I’m encouraged by the comprehensive plans and the metrics detailed approach, great job of laying it out today. Thanks, and I’d ask you to continue the work you’ve started. We’ve still got some work to do, but material availability and back orders are moving in the right direction,” Williams concluded.